Around the world pocket by pocket: A Tour Of One Woman’s Travel Gear

Over the course of the last year, Jeanette Mellinger has been all over the world with her Minaal Carry-on and not much else. Er… actually, a whole lot else, if you take a look at all the travel gear she’s got in her backpack. So, here she is to give you a pocket-by-pocket guided tour of the bag she’s been living out of for months at a time.

Oh, and if you want to let us know what you got in your bag, drop a note in the comments or hit us up at feedback[at]minaal[dot]com.


Travel gear for multiple Climate Zones

It’s easiest to pack travel gear for a limited range of climates but when you’re planning to be on the road for 6-7 weeks (or more), itineraries quickly spill across borders, continents, and cultures. Like this…

alpine Mode Meets waterfall Mode

Next up I’m traveling to West Africa, Southern Europe, the Baltics and Scandinavia. I’m anticipating a mix of temps from 45 to 110F (7 to 43C), both less and more conservative cultures, beach hangs, a few formal dinners, French school and lots of activities: hiking, backpacking, running and biking.

A Few More notes:

I definitely have more stuff than I need – easily 2-3 bottoms, 2-3 tops, and 1-2 outer layers that are not necessary… But a few extras simply make traveling life more fun and make me feel more like “me.” Plus, the bag has no problem holding it all so, why not?

This list is slightly different from what I brought on my previous big stint with my Minaal: traveling from January to June through Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, India, the Middle East, and Central Europe. There will also be a balance of cultures and different types of formal and less formal occasions this time around. Last trip, I packed more travel gear for hiking in Annapurna so I was ready to deal below freezing temperatures at night all the way through insanely hot and humid days.

Without further ado, here is my list, grouped by how the items fit into my Minaal 1.0, which also loosely works out into how they’re divided by category:

Main Compartment

Travel gear packed into main compartment of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

Large compression stuff sack: Lower/Full Body Clothes

Travel gear packed into large stuff sack in main compartment of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

In the large stuff sack I brought my:

  • Long, charcoal ExOfficio travel pants that double as hiking pants or a more formal option
  • Long blue Uniqlo legging pants
  • Black semi-formal jogger pants
  • Lolë athletic travel shorts
  • Blue maxi dress, a colorful knee-length dress
  • My awesome HeyHeys athletic tights
  • Black yoga/casual tights

Small compression stuff sack

Travel gear packed into small stuff sack in main compartment of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

I mainly using the small compression stuff sack for upper body clothes. It’s hard to know what you’re going to run into when you’re traveling for a good length of time so I’ve got:
  • 4 fun, short-sleeved t-shirts of various weights and levels of formality
  • 1 Icebreaker wool t-shirt for casual and active wear
  • 2 tank tops – the long one doubles as a dress

Zippered Mesh Pocket

Travel gear packed into main compartment of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

I’m using the zippered mesh pocket for clothing basics:
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • Bathing suit bottom
  • Yoga/fitness top that doubles as bathing suit top
  • 3 pairs socks (1 tall black, 1 low black/athletic, 1 tall wool)
  • 1 regular bra
  • 1 strapless bra
  • Belt

Lower zippered pocket

Travel gear packed into lower zip pocket in main compartment of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

The lower zippered pocket in the main compartment will hold my small medicine pack:

  • Bandages
  • Health insurance card
  • Lactaid – lactase supplement
  • Thermometer
  • Immodium anti-diarrheal
  • Probiotics
  • Pepto Bismol chew tablets
  • A tiny thing of needle and thread
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Aspirin
  • Nasal decongestant pills
  • Anti-malaria medicines
  • Antibiotics – Cipro
  • Teenie-tiny Ziploc bags to carry everyday pills in day bag
  • Backup razor head
  • Rehydration tablets
  • Tiny emergency blanket
  • Poncho


Bathroom bag packed with toiletries packed into Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

The medium-sized bathroom bag holds all my toiletries:

  • Travel brush and comb
  • Deodorant soap
  • Soap holder
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Bug spray (30% DEET and natural)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair serum
  • Face lotion
  • Face sunscreen
  • Body sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face wash
  • Eye cream
  • Extra Ziploc bags
  • Hair clip
  • 3 hair ties
  • Nail polish
  • Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Makeup

Just Kinda Stuffed in

Travel gear and outerwear packed into the main compartment of the Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

Alongside the above there’s:

  • Outer Layers (one worn)
    • Black long-sleeved cardigan sweater
    • Hooded Marmot wind/waterproof jacket
    • Patagonia R2 fleece
    • Hooded Patagonia micro puff jacket
    • Leather jacket (too hard to resist for cold Scandinavian fun!)
  • Light scarf/shawl
  • Cocoon mummy liner
  • Small cloth bag to put dirty laundry in (doubles as backup pillow if needed)

Front/top Stash Pockets

Travel gear for sleeping packed in the top stash pockets

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

Assorted Travel Aids (that I don’t want to dig for when needed)

  • Small, rolled up yoga band (to aid stretching)
  • Inflatable, awesome neck pillow
  • Black Brooks running/casual gloves

Small stuff sack for sleep and tech goodies

  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Sleep aids
  • Head lamp
  • International converter/charger
  • Backup battery
  • Long and short iPhone cable
  • Micro USB charging cable (for backup battery)

Device Compartment

Travel gear packed in the device compartment

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

Organizer section

  • 2 good black pens – 1 with duct tape wrapped around cap
  • 1 red pen
  • 1 thick black Sharpie
  • PADI card
  • 5-10 backup passport pics

Device suspension sling

  • Important papers
    • Photocopies of passport
    • Yellow fever card
    • Budget flight confirmations
  • Journal

Document Sleeve

  • Pocket-sized purse
    • Backup makeup that’s hard to find abroad
  • Gifts for people we’re visiting
  • Favorite teas
  • Collapsible mug
  • Plastic spork
Small flat purse, phone, sunglasses and day bag packed in device compartment

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

Small, flat purse

  • Phone
  • 2 pairs Apple headphones
  • Passport
  • Vaccination/yellow fever card
  • Wallet
  • Money 


  • Durable bag/name tag
  • Carabiner
  • Awesome Korean baseball cap


Shoes to be packed into water bottle holder of Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger

  • Shoes!
I wear my Saucony Bullets or a pair of Toms. Both shoes are black and allow me to easily go to cities/dinners, hiking, urban hiking for 15 miles, runs, etc – super versatile. I also had these thin flip flops in Asia but might not use any this time.


I carry a small day bag along with my Minaal that can fold up and tuck away inside of my Carry-on if needed, especially if I’m willing to wear all my heavy clothes.

Jeanette Mellinger hiking in Annapurna with her Minaal Carry-on

Photo cred: Jeanette Mellinger



Huge thanks to Jeanette and Jeremy for sharing their travels, travel gear and loads of awesome shots with us! Track them down on Instagram with the links above for more. And if you’re feeling a wave of packing/travel gear obsession wash over you now that this article is nearly done , don’t forget to drop us a note in the comments or hit us up at feedback[at]minaal[dot]com with the details of what you’re carrying. We mentalize about gear going into bags all day eer day… at-least-laptop-minaal

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published